View single post by barrydancer
 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2010 03:17 am
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barrydancer
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Mark wrote: csamiller, in regards to Longstreet as an army commander: he had an independent command once in late 1863 and it resulted in a disasterous Knoxville campaign (he lost to Ambrose Burnside!). Longstreet was an unimagniative though competent corps commander, but IMHO he lacked the strategic vision to be a good army commander. Cheers!

-Mark

I'll grant you East Tennessee wasn't Longstreet's finest hour.  Even Porter Alexander in his books noted that the Knoxville campaign wasn't typical of Longstreet.  There's a reason Robert E. Lee made Longstreet second in command of the Army of Northern Virgina, though.  Over Jackson, no less. 

The attack in depth at Chickamauga, the development of the traverse trench at Petersburg.  Hardly unimaginative.  Unlike so many other Civil War commanders, Longstreet learned and adapted.  The Longstreet of Seven Pines was not the Longstreet of Second Mansassas.  The Longstreet of Second Manassas wasn't the Longstreet of Chickamauga or The Wilderness.  The same can't be said of, say, Braxton Bragg, who never learned anything.

He was a longtime advocate for a concentration in the Western Theatre, where I'll argue the war was won (or lost, depending on your point of view. :P).  He assembled one of the finest staffs of the war, choosing people for their ability not because they were friends or good Christians, and used that staff in innovative ways akin to the Prussians later in the century.  The 1st Corps staff knew everything their general knew and were an integral part of the command.

I think Longstreet would have have made a fine army commander, but he never got his shot.  He was one of the finest corps commanders of the war, however.

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